Keeping your kids entertained during the long summer vacation period can prove challenging, and the cost of summer camps can quickly add up. To balance the expense of summer activities and help keep your family budget on track, SageVest Kids offers a quick list of 15 fun money activities for kids that are easy, low-cost, and focused on financial learning.
1) Ready, Set, Save!
There’s nothing like some sibling rivalry to help inspire saving! Declare a savings competition. Whoever saves the most by the end of summer will receive a bonus in their savings jar. You could even agree to match any amount saved as an extra incentive.
2) The Pizza Budget
Use family pizza night to illustrate the basics of budgeting, where the pizza represents your monthly income and each slice represents a different expense category e.g., taxes, utilities, groceries, etc.
3) Coin Caterpillars
Arrange wiggly lines of coins on paper and draw legs and antennae to make ‘coin caterpillars’. Help your kids add up the value of each coin caterpillar. This activity teaches young children basic addition, how to recognize different coins, and their value.
4) The Seeds of Saving
Encourage personal responsibility by having your child plant a packet of seeds and tend the new plants. Explain that finances need regular attention too, and that savings start small and grow, just like seeds.
5) Take a Trip to the Store
Grocery shopping might seem like a chore for you, but your kids can learn a lot about money from a trip to the store with you!
- For younger children, explain how you earn money to buy things. Talk about how you reach purchase decisions, including the difference between expensive and cheap, and wants and needs. Pay with cash so your kids can see dollars and cents at work in real life. Play shop together to reinforce what you talk about.
- Teach older kids about comparison shopping, unit cost, and how coupons and special offers can help save money. Discuss how stores are laid out to entice spending – including impulse purchases! Discuss branding versus generic items e.g., how stores arrange well-known (more expensive) goods on the easy-to-reach shelves, while cheaper brands are displayed above or below.
6) Plan and Cook a Meal
Reinforce budgeting concepts by planning a meal together, buying what’s needed, then cooking it together, and sharing with family or friends.
7) Declutter and Donate
Enjoy an afternoon of air-conditioned organizing that teaches your kids the importance of giving – and declutters your home! Have your kids sort out gently used toys and lightly worn clothes, then donate them to a local shelter or charitable organization.
8) Second-Hand Scavenging
Teach your kids how buying second-hand can be good for their wallets and the environment, by taking them to a neighborhood yard sale or local thrift store to hunt up some fun second-hand bargains.
9) Story Time
Whether it’s ‘the rice story’ or ‘the chessboard story’, both versions of this tale teach the theory of exponential doubling, a good introduction to the value of compounding interest.
10) Set Up a Lemonade Stand
‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade’ is a great saying to teach your kids positivity, resilience, and self-esteem. Taken one step further, encourage your kids to set up a lemonade stand. It’s an excellent way to teach them the value of earning a dollar.
11) Online Games
Online games can support financial learning, and provide your kids (and you!) with some quality quiet time during the hot summer months. Some games teach specific money concepts, but even general gaming apps can help instill basic financial principles e.g., sim games reinforce saving, budgeting, and relative cost (‘buy a hammer for 25 points or build a castle for 1,000 points’). Just make sure your kids aren’t authorized to make in-app purchases.
12) Make Your Own Board Game
There are lots of fun financial board games that help teach your kids about money, or they could try making their own from scratch or by using a DIY game kit.
13) Pretend Spend
Have your kids create some pretend money, then give them advertorial flyers from their favorite store and let them ‘spend’ $50 of pretend cash. Review the value of their ‘purchases’ together and discuss budgeting, wise spending, and wants and needs.
14) Go ‘House Hunting’
Even if you’re not planning a move, online house-hunting with your tween or teen shows them the cost of a home in different locations – including where they might want to go to college. Some house hunting sites offer a mortgage calculator, opening up the chance to discuss borrowing, down payments, and interest.
15) Time Travel
Help your kids understand the ‘Wealth Effect’ by having them imagine and write or draw what their life might be like in 20 years. Will they live in a house or an apartment? What job will they have and how much will they earn? How much will things like gas, food, and electricity cost?
SageVest Kids also offers suggestions on free activities that might come in handy throughout the summer, or any day of the year.
- Free Indoor Activities For Kids
- Free Outdoor Activities For Kids
- Free Activities in DC
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SageVest Kids is brought to you by SageVest Wealth Management, a top fee-only financial advisory firm. We offer comprehensive wealth management, investment services, and financial planning, all customized for you and your family, your finances, and your future. Please contact us to find out more.